Plato: The Really Real

4.1 Plato’s Life and Times

  • Appreciate Plato’s influence on Western thought and why he has been so highly regarded.
  • Know the main events in Plato’s life and explain their significance for philosophy and the history of ideas.
  • Understand the role that Socrates plays in Plato’s dialogues.

4.2 Knowledge and Reality

  • Define relativism and skepticism and understand how Plato responded to these doctrines.
  • Understand the three necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and why true belief alone does not qualify as knowledge.
  • Understand Plato’s reasoning in arriving at his theory of knowledge.
  • Define the Forms and explain how Plato thinks they are related to the material world.
  • Know the story of Socrates and his questioning of the slave boy and be able to explain what conclusion Socrates draws from this experience.
  • Define rationalism and empiricism and know which doctrine Plato accepted and why.

4.3 Allegory of the Cave

  • Recount Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and explain what significance it has for him.
  • Explain how the allegory may allude to Socrates.

4.4 Immortality, Morality, and the Soul

  • Understand the early Greek concept of the soul and how it changed over time.
  • Explain Plato’s two arguments for immortality—the arguments from recollection and affinity.
  • Explain Plato’s concept of the tripartite soul and why he thinks the soul must have more than one aspect.
  • Explain why Plato thinks it’s more beneficial to be just than unjust.
  • Recount the story of the ring of Gyges and explain what Glaucon thought it proved.

4.5 The Individual and the State

  • Define democracy, meritocracy, and aristocracy.
  • Explain the make-up of Plato’s ideal society and what he views as the central tenet of personal and community morality.
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